The “Inner Critic” voice that lives inside and gets louder, often as we come closer to our dreams, can either hinder us or help us grow our business. In my work as a coach, I’ve often come up against my own inner critic and help other women entrepreneurs understand theirs so they can move closer to making their entrepreneurial dreams come true.
I recently spoke with a woman entrepreneur about her desire to grow her business so she could quit her day job and focus on her dream of being a full-time entrepreneur. Her day job consumes much of her energy and time, provides little fulfillment, and doesn’t move her closer to her dreams.
To help her along the process of getting from where she is to her dream, I asked her where she wanted her business to be before she could confidently move into being a full-time entrepreneur. With her answer, she was super clear on what her income needed to be, how many events she would need to host to generate that income, and how many calls she needed to make to book those events on her calendar. Clarity around what she needed to do to grow her business was not her issue but there was something just under the surface of her clarity that was … her inner critic.
As she described her business and what creating this business and lifestyle she dreamed of would give her, she became instantly connected to her “Why.” She realized her dream of building her business was not only for herself, but for the women she would serve. She was grounded, focused, and downright joyful as she envisioned and talked about her life as a full-time entrepreneur, doing what she loves every single day AND making amazing money. It was obvious that her big “Why” lit her up, filled her bucket, and fed her soul.
Yet, when I asked her what she felt was getting in the way of creating this amazing business, she said when she sat down to make phone calls inviting women to book events with her, she “didn’t want to be pushy” and, therefore, didn’t always pick up the phone. She told herself she would “do it tomorrow” and we all know how that goes.
Self-Doubt, the “voice” of our Inner Critic, takes many forms
I know this well, in myself and in my clients, the weight of not wanting to be “pushy” and wanting to “do the right thing” is heavy and exhausting. She, as many of us, knew she had a gift to share but was doubting herself and getting stuck in the mind chatter. The doubt was her inner critic and by listening to it and believing it, she was not taking the action she needed (phone calls) to grow her business.
Why is it that when we have dreams and goals in our life, it’s so easy to let the mind clutter get in the way of us doing the things that move us closer to them? We often busy ourselves with many other “tasks” that keep us busy, but not necessarily moving us closer to the business and lifestyle we want for ourselves. We feel stuck, unmotivated, and, ultimately, too exhausted to get the right things done.
Self-Doubt, the “voice” of our Inner Critic, takes many forms and comes from people and places in our past. It can be so loud at times that it drowns out our dreams, desires, and our commitment to ourselves. It often shows up as fear of embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, criticism, or being abandoned by our “tribe.” It comes from a place of safety. It’s our hardwiring to stay physically safe (fight, flight, or freeze).
Listening to our Inner Critic isn’t the problem … making decisions from this voice is.
The problem with self-doubt in our businesses is it keeps us “stuck” and fearful of putting ourselves out there … so we end up playing small and wondering why we aren’t doing better in our business, career, or life, in general.
Our Inner Critic can motivate us at times … pushing us to be diligent workers, dotting our Is and crossing our Ts, but it can’t motivate us to be a game changer. That takes some risk.
The trick to moving beyond the Inner Critic voice that keeps us stuck is to first notice and then label when we hear these repetitive thoughts telling us we can’t or shouldn’t do something. It’s key that we move beyond the message to not do something because we’ll embarrass ourself. The secret is to listen, acknowledge it with “Ah, that’s the voice of my Inner Critic talking, not me.”
Then we take the step forward, do the thing that’s keeping us stuck, and step that much closer to our dream.
I’m writing to you today in spite of my own Inner Critic who told me, “You’re not a good writer and you don’t have anything new or inspiring to share … it’s all been told.” I noticed, I listened, I labeled it. I recognized that it was keeping me from my dream. My dream of connecting with you and serving you in my business as a coach. So, I took the step anyway and wrote this post.
I’d love for you to do the same. Explore your own Inner Critic:
• What does your Inner Critic say? Write down some of its most frequently voiced beliefs.
• How does it most often show up for you? Perfectionism? Procrastination? Avoidance? Another certification, class, degree?
*What is it costing you (physically, emotionally, and financially) to make decisions from this space?
* On a scale of 1-10 how committed are you to sharing your dream?
When we share there is an accountability piece that helps keep us motivated and moving closer to our dreams. Who will you share your dream, your vision with?
I’d love to hear your comments. And if you’re ready to notice, listen, label, and step beyond your Inner Critic, book a complimentary 50-minute Clarity Call with me and let’s get started creating the Business and Lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of!